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Hamas stages Gaza sit-in to denounce detention of Palestinian MPs by Israel

March 12, 2017 7:23 P.M. (Updated: March 12, 2017 10:52 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Hamas lawmakers of the “Change and Reform” parliamentary bloc organized a sit-in in Gaza on Sunday in solidarity with MPs detained by Israel.

Protesters in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) headquarters in Gaza expressed their rejection of Israel’s recent detention of a number of Hamas-affiliated MPs in the occupied West Bank.

Change and Reform bloc head Mahmoud al-Zahar said that the detention of Palestinian deputies was a violation of fundamental political rights, and called on Palestinian political movements to stand united in support of figures such as Hamas MP Samira al-Halaiqa, who was detained on International Women’s Day in the Hebron district of the West Bank.

“We don’t depend on the hypocritical world that stays silent vis-a-vis Israeli crimes and deals with the Palestinian case with hypocrisy,” al-Zahar said. “We all hope that Palestine will be freed at the hands of resistance fighters.”

Al-Zahar added that the sit-in sought to affirm the PLC’s position as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.

PLC Deputy Head Ahmad Bahr said that al-Halaiqa’ detention showed that Israel “only understood the language of force.”

He added that Israeli detention of Palestinian political figures was a deliberate move to deprive the Palestinian people of their leadership, and stressed that Palestinian resistance factions were striving to release all Palestinians held prisoner by Israel.

According to the event organizers, some 10 political leaders, including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Secretary-General Ahmad Saadat and prominent Fatah figure Marwan al-Barghouthi, were currently held in Israeli custody.

The other detained political figures were identified as Hassan Yousif, Muhammad Abu Tir, Muhammad al-Natsha, Azzam Salhab, Ahmad Mubarak, Khalid Tafish, Anwar al-Zboun, and al-Halaiqa.

Tafish and Zboun, two Hamas lawmakers, were detained earlier this month.

Rights groups say that Israel has used its detention of Palestinians to attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

According to Addameer, as of January, 6,500 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, four of whom were PLC members.
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